Spring has sprung, and Verne and his woodland friends awaken from their long winter's nap to discover that a large, green hedge has cropped up right through the middle of their once-natural habitat. Enter RJ, an opportunistic raccoon who explains that the world beyond the hedge is "the gateway to the good life" where peculiar creatures called humans live to eat, rather than eat to live. "For humans," RJ proclaims, "enough is never enough."
Suspicious and even a little jealous of the charismatic, smooth-talking RJ, the ever-cautious Verne wants to keep his blended family safely on their side of the hedge. But, proving the adage that one man's garbage is another man's or, rather, animal's treasure, the manipulative RJ has his own reasons for convincing the woodland band that there is little to fear and everything to gain from their over-indulgent new neighbors. Eventually, RJ and Verne form an unlikely friendship as they and their furry friends learn to co-exist with and even exploit this strange new world called suburbia.
Heading up an all-star voice cast, Bruce Willis (the "Die Hard" franchise, "The Sixth Sense") is the voice of the roguish con-artist raccoon named RJ, and Emmy winner Garry Shandling (TV's "The Larry Sanders Show," "It's Garry Shandling's Show") voices the overly practical turtle named Verne. Rounding out the voice cast of "Over the Hedge" are: Steve Carell ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin," TV's "The Office") as a hyperactive squirrel named Hammy; comedienne Wanda Sykes (TV's "Wanda at Large") as a sassy skunk named Stella; two-time Emmy winner William Shatner (TV's "Boston Legal") as Ozzie, a possum who excels at playing dead with a melodramatic flair; chart-topping recording artist Avril Lavigne as Ozzie's daughter, Heather; Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy (both "A Mighty Wind," "Best in Show"), who are paired as the porcupine couple Penny and Lou, with a brood of little porcupine mouths to feed; two-time Oscar nominee Nick Nolte ("Affliction," "The Prince of Tides") as a bear named Vincent; and Omid Djalili ("Casanova") as a spoiled housecat named Tiger. On the human side of the hedge, four-time Emmy winner Allison Janney (TV's "The West Wing") plays Gladys, the president of the local homeowners' association, who isn't about to see her neighborhood overrun by wildlife; and Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways") is the voice of "the Verminator," whom Gladys hires to rid the area of our woodland heroes.
Based on the popular comic strip by Michael Fry and T Lewis, "Over the Hedge" was directed by Tim Johnson ("Antz") and Karey Kirkpatrick ("Chicken Run" screenwriter), making his directorial debut. Bonnie Arnold ("Toy Story," "Tarzan") produced the film, with Bill Damaschke serving as executive producer. The screenplay is by Len Blum and Lorne Cameron & David Hoselton and Karey Kirkpatrick.